How this free hiring tool aims to elevate the law enforcement industry
Streamline your agency’s prescreening process and gain confidence in your hiring decisions
Sponsored by Guardian Alliance Technologies
By Courtney Levin, Police1 BrandFocus Staff
Very few, if any, of a cop’s daily tasks can be called “easy.” Not only has it become increasingly difficult to safely enforce the law among the general public, but administrative duties are sometimes hampered by outdated processes and systems. Often topping the list of exhausting desk work is reviewing the lengthy applications of prospective candidates in an effort to determine who will undergo a full preemployment background investigation.
It’s not unusual for agencies to fall behind when hiring officers, particularly when an increasing number of departments are short-staffed and operating on too-small budgets. In a world where tasks can be completed with just a few clicks of a mouse, the law enforcement agency hiring process often feels like an archaic, staggering challenge.
With a mission to ease the burden, the team at Guardian Alliance Technologies has developed digital tools to help streamline the hiring process. Through their Free Triage Center, agencies can review candidates’ applications and determine who will undergo a full background investigation more efficiently and complete background investigations with greater confidence.
HIRING SHOULDN’T BE HARD
How certain are you that your agency can uncover every potential concern about a candidate? When was the last time your background investigators were able to process candidate applications at a rapid pace?
If your answers lean toward the negative end of the spectrum, you’re not alone. The process of hiring new officers can be exhausting, particularly because of the paperwork involved.
Although it’s a critical step to uncover a candidate’s qualifications, the use of hard copy personal history questionnaires (PHQs) creates several problems. From storage issues to the manual review of hundreds of questions per applicant, processing each PHQ is anything but streamlined.
“There’s got to be a better way,” said Justin Biedinger, founder and president of Guardian Alliance Technologies, when describing the initial idea to develop the Free Triage Center. “There has to be a way to not just expedite the process but to catch errors and uncover more information.”
It’s virtually impossible to cross-reference with other agencies to tell if a candidate changed an answer from a previous PHQ submission to make themselves look more favorable, and agencies can find themselves inadvertently letting a less-than-ideal candidate slip through the cracks.
Instead, Guardian Alliance Technologies designed the Free Triage Center to process applications more efficiently and help agencies fill in information gaps and weed out the bad apples.
GOING DIGITAL BRINGS GROWTH
The Free Triage Center does more than digitize each applicant’s PHQ. Visual cues provide information at a glance for quick review. Details including the percentage of PHQ completion, the date of a candidate’s last application and documents applicants have uploaded are visible in an organized dashboard.
Guardian Alliance Technologies has also integrated access to several key databases to help agencies uncover potential candidate concerns. Its National Applicant Information Center (NAIC) is a centralized database exclusively available to Guardian users that stores an applicant’s job seeking activity, such as agencies they’ve applied to, and flags any concerns arising from changes applicants may make from one background questionnaire submission to the next.
Additionally, Guardian’s Triage Center includes a feature that makes it easy for agencies to run candidates through the National Decertification Index (NDI) at the beginning of the hiring process to uncover if the applicant has been decertified as a peace officer or is under investigation.
Agencies can then document any issues found and make them visible in the applicant’s record under the concerns report. It’s important to note that the NDI should not be viewed as a blacklist, but rather a tool for agencies to gain more information on their applicants.
Use of the Free Triage Center creates a continuously growing benefit for law enforcement as a whole, says Biedinger.
“It has a compound effect on the overall value of the system. By allowing agencies to use this contributory database for free, we’re getting 100% of the applicants in the system, which makes the system more valuable for every other agency that comes on board,” he said.
GAIN CONFIDENCE IN YOUR HIRING DECISIONS
Streamlining the hiring process is about more than just cutting down on time spent reviewing PHQs. The core goal behind the Free Triage Center is to change law enforcement for the better.
“Guardian is not just a software platform that we sell to police departments to make money,” said Biedinger, a former member of the Stockton Police Department. “It’s literally a movement to change the industry and improve the optics of the profession.”
Agencies have long sought to hire individuals of the highest caliber, yet due to the ongoing challenges endured by police departments nationwide, even greater efforts should be made to employ the best of the best.
“Considering the times that we live in, we can’t afford to make a bad hire,” said Ryan Layne, CEO at Guardian Alliance Technologies. “Public trust for law enforcement is at an all-time low. Garnering public support is instrumental to fighting crime and maintaining law and order. The less support our peace officers have from the public, the more we will see an increase in crime.”
“Additionally, we are facing a serious hiring crisis and it’s making it increasingly difficult to attract good candidates to the profession when the optics of being a police officer are so low,” said Layne. “We must do everything in our power to ensure we are hiring the best candidates to minimize behavior that will only continue to damage the reputation of this honorable profession.”
The Free Triage Center provides agencies increased organization and confidence when hiring officers and, unlike other software solutions, is truly free to use. Guardian Alliance Technologies offers additional paid investigative tools, but many agencies opt to rely solely on the Free Triage Center.
The importance of uncovering every potential concern during the prescreening process has a big spotlight on it now, says Biedinger.
“As a background investigator, you have to lie down at night knowing you recommended hiring someone and hope you uncovered everything you could on that individual,” said Biedinger. “I would have slept much better at night if this tool was available when I was doing backgrounds.”
“It’s an honor to provide this solution to my brothers and sisters in blue who carry this burden daily,” Biedinger continued. “It’s my hope and prayer that by providing this tool at no cost, we will eliminate any excuse to keep from using it and weed out bad apples from entering our profession.”
Visit Guardian Alliance Technologies for more information.